Audi A5 Sportback

Stylish profile and practical packaging for Audi's all-new A5 Sportback.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

There’s much to like about the A5 Sportback. It manages to hold on to the stylish good looks of the A5 Coupe but adds a pleasing dose of practicality too with extra luggage space and genuine rear seat room for two passengers. The dynamics could offer more in the way of driver appeal and there’s no doubt that the A5 Sportback comes with a high price tag, but if you’re after spacious and smart premium car, it comes highly recommended.

Blending coupe good looks, saloon comfort and estate practicality, Audi believes the all-new A5 Sportback has no direct rivals. After months of waiting, we’ve finally been able to find out.

In the metal, the extra set of doors and longer, higher stance mean the Sportback loses some of the coupe’s sporty nature, although the sharp rear-sloping roofline help it to retain a lot of what makes the coupe look so great.

But it’s the amount of extra space Audi has managed to find in the rear that is the Sportback’s biggest acheivement. Head and legroom is now on a par with the A4, and boot space is equally impressive, offering 320-litre, only 10-litres less than the A4 saloon. What’s more, the Sportback matches the A4 with the rear seats folded flat. Plus, thanks to the new clever hatchback boot, it is very easy to load too.

From launch, the Sportback will be available with four engines, two 2.0 and 3.0-litre TDI diesel units, plus 2.0-litre TFSI quattro and 3.2-litre FSI quattro petrols, with more scheduled to arrive by this time next year.

We drove the 2.0-litre TDI, 6-speed manual – the car Audi expects to be its best seller. All the other models will also be available with Audi’s S-tronic transmission. Delivering 168bhp and 350Nm of torque, it’s not hugely powerful and together with long, economy-minded gearing the entry-level diesel is no hot hatch even if a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds – only 0.4 seconds slower than the coupe – suggests it’s quicker than it feels.

However, there’s a pay-off at the pumps. Thanks to start-stop technology, regenerative braking, and a gearshift indictor, the 2.0-litre diesel is the most environmentally friendly model in the Sportback line-up, emitting only 137g/km of C02 and returning a very frugal 54.3mpg on the combined cycle.

Both diesel versions are front wheel drive, while the petrols use Audi's Quattro all-wheel-drive setup. Steering lacks feel unless under heavy cornering, in which case the Sportback firms up providing a more responsive and rewarding drive.

Although the A5 Sportback we tested is £2,000 more expensive than an A4 saloon and £500 pricier than an A4 Avant, there’s little doubt that it’s a very competent and stylish all-rounder, and a car that should attract lots of new customers to the brand when it goes on sale this October.

Rival: BMW 3-Series GT It’s still some way off but BMW is planning a smaller hatchback brother to the upcoming 5-Series GT. Promising better driving dynamics it’ll be tough to beat.

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